When I met Brian Kasaine a few years ago in our Campus Writer’s Group (Zogoa Kenya), and then I heard him speak, it occurred to me why he was that slender. All the food I fancy was going directly into his head. He is a wordsmith with a good brain and an even better sense of imagination. You’d know that I’m not bluffing by getting a copy of his book “Around The Campfire” (ask me how in the comments section) and by reading this short story that he has written.
P.S. You can contact him via his Facebook Account Brian Kasaine Facebook
Or Email email@example.com
So, let’s get down to the story now shall we?
I’m a wanderer. I’m yet to find a place my heart will settle and my mind will float in peace. I’m a wanderer. I’ve forgotten how it feels to blossom in the gaiety of beautiful moments with friends and family. Every night, 11.46 p.m. to be exact, I step out into the open. It’s a ritual I’ve done for a year now, an addiction I may never quit; shackles I may never break. Maybe I will change someday if that which was, shows up again and stays this time around. Some of the nights are dark and scary. Even the crickets seem shushed by the darkness; and the world seems like a pot holding darkness, with hopelessness, fear, and pain all skulking. Sometimes the moon lights up the earth and there, under its mercies, I stand like a soldier with battle scars who walked back from the battlefield and found everything he used to call home was no more. I however still enjoy the sight of the glorious moon glowing down at me, shooting hope into the debris of my heart. Sometimes the cold has something against me. It drives on irked wind and hits me hard that my bones grimace. But still, I draw my coat close and stand stoic for I understand that the ritual must go on. And sometimes, the sky is sprinkled with stars, each blinking periodically and some shooting with everything there is in agility. My chin lifts, my neck turns swiftly as eyes follow the shooting stars, and each time my wish is the same. It has never changed, it will never change. Unless that which was, comes again and stays this time around. These starry nights are my best, even the wind strokes me gently like we are lovers in a honeymoon bed. It gently ruffles my scraggly hair. The crickets during these nights adorned with stars sing on and on, reminding me that there is life. And I stand there, a loser who lost by winning. I chant my ritual; only that I don’t speak out the lines. My heartbeat and every microscopic beat of my eye speaks the lines out. Lines of the Pyrrhic victory.
It’s Saturday, 7p.m. and light is shuffling away to give way to darkness. The walls of my heart are closing in fast, it hurts that this evening I’ve failed to watch the sun set. I will watch it rise tomorrow; I lecture myself as I ruffle my unkempt afro, digging my fingers through. On Monday night I slept in a bus that was snaking its way from Mombasa to Nairobi. On Tuesday I did not sleep. I watched the night wear off while seated in a restaurant that hosted live country music all night. It was both uplifting and depressing. I felt happy and sad, thanks to the nostalgic touch the music shot point blank into my heart. The song that did the job well; gave me the coup-de-grace and my eyes got liquid was John Denver’s take me home. I watched the three singers in boots and cowboy hats sing with all they had. On Wednesday I spend my night in Nakuru, at a dingy room. They call it lodging. The door was tired and frail, even latched from inside it still looked like three claps from three men standing a meter away could shake it open. The mattress had outlived its lifespan and was curved upwards in a half-made circle. Three hundred shillings afforded me a miserable night in the room. Make no mistake; it’s not that I couldn’t buy a night in a five star hotel. Money has never been an issue to me since I was born, it came on a silver platter. On Thursday night I sat on a street bench by the side of Agha Khan walk, Nairobi, and cogitated over life. Later, an old man wearing a blue battered cap, an overly patched up coat difficult to tell its colour, and frayed jeans joined me. He sat next to me, said not a word but started playing a flute. My days as a kid attending Sunday school years ago did me good. I identified the tune flowing from the flute. It was that of a hymn- Count your blessings name them one by one. And silently, I sang along. When upon life billows you are tempest tossed, when you are discouraged thinking all is lost….
I turned and looked at him. Dried up streaks of tears were on his cheeks. As he breathed hard into the flute, his breath came out redolent of cheap booze. I watched the flecks of saliva etched on the corners of his lips, and we both…counted our blessings in disguise. We never spoke. And when it was past midnight, each man on his street furniture, we hugged our knees to fit on the cold metallic bench and slept. At dawn when sunlight was rehearsing its reappearance, I shook the old bag of pain so hard that his cap fell off. He jerked as though my hands were live wires, but I calmed him down. I pushed five thousand shillings into his sweaty palms, belted my coat around my body and walked away. On Friday evening I attended a charity session organized by Deliverance Church, Kagundo road. At the entrance I almost put up a fuss when the security officer asked me to turn around. But then I looked at myself and kept my cool, for it wasn’t his fault. If me from the past, the man always in a suit, who used to walk letting car keys dangle from his fingers met me now, he would run away. Okay, I buy new clothes every week, but I’m rough and tumble. My hair can depress the barber. Beards have taken over my face which is pale. That day my knees were careening and my speech garbled, six bottles of beer were forming waves and smashing against the walls of my stomach. A pastor was walking in and he asked the guard to let me in. By the time I walked out I had given a hundred thousand shillings to charity in a brown envelope, with no details of who I was. I went to Tripple O, one of the finest hotels in Utawala and bought a night there. They are used to me, so they raised no alarm. As long as I could pay their rack rates, they cared less about how I looked.
Today, it’s on a Saturday. I’m standing outside Taveta Court on Taveta road, watching heads hurry towards every direction. Some are scuttling home before the night blossoms, whereas others are walking to their stations of work. The earth will never witness a serene night. When one goes to bed, another gets out of bed. My black pair of trousers is torn at the crotch, and a cold breeze humiliates my manhood; I can feel it shrink. I walk towards Tom Mboya street, with hands pocketed. I walk on along it towards railways, bumping into shoulders of hawkers, and other men and women from different walks of life. Vehicles tonight have broken all traffic rules and it’s every mad man for himself. I spot a traffic police screaming at the top of his lungs and waving hands all directions, and I wonder what role he plays. For as far as am concerned, there is no order and the poor man should just join me in my walk of misery. My pity for him turns to ashes like a paper crinkling in cracking flames when I spot him take some money from a bus driver obstructing the way. I shake my head and the loose nuts in there demand some liquor. Calm down, get a new pair of trousers first, I advise myself. On and on I walk, but tonight the noisy street with shouting touts and hawkers denies my ears the pleasure of the swishing sound of my denim brushing as I walk. I get to Mr. Price and walk straight to a pair of blue trousers displayed, set them free from the hanger and toss them on the cashier’s counter. I don’t care what size they are as I pull out my visa card from my breast pocket and toss it on the counter. After five minutes I walk out with the trouser in a bag branded Mr. Price, and I can feel the eyes of the cashier and other attendants bore into my bones with amazement, but none utters a word. They are probably afraid, this thirty year old looks like he’s eager to sock someone’s throat before slitting it with a serrated blade drawn from his socks, if he is wearing any tonight. I proceed towards Bus Station, find a dark corner near the temples and decide to make it my changing room. Right there, I undo the buckle of my belt and slither out of my torn trousers. Two ladies flash their mobile phone lights my direction, giving extra light beyond that of the moon and a few street lights.
“What the hell?” One starts
“He is undressing in public,” the other picks up and they chortle. One is now making a call, probably trying to get his mother’s boyfriend on the line to tell him just how crazy the world is.
“Hello ladies,” I manage, calmly as I pull my new trousers and zip up. Luckily, they fit so well around the waist but they are slightly afraid of touching my ankles.
“Want to help me dress up and then give me a massage?” I ask, throwing my feet into my blue sneakers. I move towards them and they scatter like little ants when hot water is poured on them.
“Just what I thought,” I confide in the world around me.
It’s now three minutes to 8 O’clock and emptiness deep inside incarcerates me, lock, stock and barrel. It’s not an alien feeling, I know it so well and it has only one remedy- Talking to someone. But who? I have no one. Ever since August the damned 19th of 2014, I’ve had no one. Ever since my Muslim lover turned tail and deserted me because our families couldn’t sign off for love to blossom between conflicting religions, I’ve had no one. Ever since I got a reason to do my 11.46 p.m. ritual out in the dark, I’ve had no one. Ever since the Pyrrhic victory embraced me, I’ve had no one. As I stand out there in the cold, my torn trousers bowing at my feet, an idea strikes my mind like lightning bolt. I’m going to take a taxi driver out, buy him beer in a high class sequestered club, pay him to just listen and after the night, compensate him for jobs he might have lost at the expense of being in my company. Wow, that is genius. I marvel at my brilliant idea. This is how Albert Einstein must have felt when he discovered the theory of relativity. A smile pulls my lips as I scratch the beards on my cheeks. A taxi driver. That’s the person I’ll tell about my Muslim lover and how religion tore us apart, how universal love was scoffed at and I became the man I am today.
“Taxi?” the lean man in a brown leather jacket asks as he shoots up into a straight stance. He had been leaning on a wall adjacent to a place various vehicles are parked.
“You’re right, just what I need tonight,” I say, slowing as I approach the man who’s now holding a hand out for me. I take it tepidly, and he gives it firmly.
“At your service boss, let’s go.” He motions me to a silver Toyota Auris parked a few meters away. The street lights shine on us, and I can see the man now and make out what he is made of. He has a fresh hair cut, sideboards spread neatly in a line until they merge with the beards covering his chin. Under the zipped-up leather jacket peeps the white collar of a button up shirt. He is in black denim jeans and well polished black shoes, whoever did the shining must have taken pains to do it. The wife? Maybe, maybe not. My estimation informs me that he is in his mid-twenties. Could have gotten hitched, could have not. Finally, my head which longs for a double shot of tequila to be in the right frame goes with he’s a bachelor. After he motions with an open arm towards his machine, I nod and follow his lead. I go around and after the Toyota Auris beeps unlocked with a push of his key button, I take my place at the passenger seat without saying a word.
“Chalo, ambia Johnte nimetoka but nacome,” (Chalo, tell Johnte I’ve gone but I’ll be back) he hollers in a sonorous voice. His voice and energy reminds me of back in the days when I was a happy Adonis with a bucket of peals of laughter. But not today. Today I’m a walking, spending dead.
“Where to, sir?” he enquires as we snap safety belts into place, in unison.
“Wanderer. Call me wanderer, please.”
That comes unexpected and throws him back. His vision narrows to my dishevelled hair and beards which make it hard to tell where exactly my mouth is. One look at him gives me the right read. He is questioning whether I’m a serious customer or just another ratarsed bug out for a play. We are all belted now but he still seems uneasy, I can almost swear he wants to ask me to get another cab. My left hand snakes into my breast pocket and I fish a thousand shillings note and wave it mockingly at his face.
“No cause for alarm, bro. I’ll pay. Just make the engine roar.”
He smiles, and then brings the engine to life.
“Westlands. Take me to the most fancy club in Westlands.”
He stares with a half-slack mouth, then after ruffling through pages of club records in his mind, gives a professorial nod.
“I know this place that you will love,” he declares brightly. And just like that, I put a check on my intention of finding a taxi driver who can sit in a club, and probably down a bottle or two. He knows of a fancy club where he actually adds I will love. I pat myself on my lap and offer one of my best smiles.
Fifteen minutes later and we are hitting the road after extricating ourselves from one of the snarl ups in Nairobi.
“What’s your name?” I ask
“Ok, Tom. You might want to call..what was that name again. Johnte? The one you said should be told you’ll be back soon. You might want to call and tell them they’ll see you tomorrow.”
Almost immediately, I can feel his fear creep into the space inside the vehicle.
“What do you mean?” he asks, looking at me from the corner of his eyes and his palms tightening and loosening on the wheel, with tension. I then realize my mistake and try a different approach.
“Tom. I’m a rich man. Would you want to be rich?”
First he breathes out a mock breath, the kind that says, you, rich? Mary Mother of grace, have mercy. And then he nods.
“Yeah, who doesn’t want to be rich?”
“Good. Here’s an education for you Tom. Being rich isn’t everything. I lack peace, I’m lost. And bro,” I pause, having realized my voice is faltering, it’s about to get drowned in tears.
“All I want is someone I can sit with and talk to. Talk about my every good story and every bullshitty story I want to talk about.” I disengage my mouth, and look for his reaction. I guess my voice has given me up to be a man in pain, because he now looks concerned instead of afraid. “Tom. How about I pay you two thousand shillings just to sit with me in the club and listen, buy you drinks and later pay you ten thousand shillings to compensate for whatever job you might lose while listening to this frayed bag of emotions.” With that, I pull some thousands and shove them on the dash board.
“What you say, Tom?”
Thirty minutes later and we are seated in the V.I.P section of this grandiloquent club. Tom has parked his cab, job closed for tonight. The V.I.P section is on the third floor. Unlike the ground floor where the rotating lights with a hundred colours are epileptic and you can’t even see someone’s face clearly, where the music is too loud and there is a live disc joker waving his hand up and down as he pumps music to a people drunk and twitching in moves, the V.I.P section is calm. There is soft music being played by a live band, mildly in a way you can’t miss what the person across from you is saying. The lighting of the place is a superb blue, casting a blue tinge on everyone’s forehead. It looks like all the beautiful maidens were saved for the V.I.P, they graciously move around in sparkling white shirts whose breast pockets are stamped with the club logo, and a plate bearing their names hangs on the top of their breast pockets. I have an eye for detail, and that’s how I notice that all the ladies have their shirts half way buttoned, exposing their juicy cleavages. All skirts worn by the attendants are black and abbreviated. Probably the manager was the brain behind the dressing, the fool knows how to ‘cadge off’ money. Another thing I note, there are no male attendants in the V.I.P. section. But who cares? I’m here to pour my heart out to a stranger, and so juicy, swollen breasts serving my drinks are the last my attention can wander off to.
After we are comfortable I make the order, and from then bottles of Tusker Cidar come in pairs on our table, for a number I’m later unable to keep track of.
“Her name is Aisha. I can still feel her scent, feel her touch and hear her voice in my head.” I take another sip, and then look up, into Tom’s eyes. He is following, empathizing. I’m unable to tell whether it’s real or he is feigning it just so that I make it worth his while. He isn’t drinking with the fierce thirst I’ve displayed myself, he is a light drinker. After all, he is the driver. He snogs one bottle for a whole hour!
“Tom, this is how I met Aisha. In campus, first year. This Muslim girl sits next to me during a communications class. She is in her hijab, covered everywhere save for the face. As the class approaches its end, the lecturer gives us an assignment and says we should pair up. I don’t remember who makes the suggestion first, but she ends up my assignment partner. We agree to meet on a Thursday morning in the common room, and a friendship builds beyond that one task. Countless suns set, and our friendship grows. That was ten years ago.” I pause, to clear my throat in a scratchy rasp.
Tom is following.
“Four years later we both graduated. I was born into money, I only went to school to get exposed to life and knowledge, and head back home to take up one of my dad’s companies. Jackson Sanaet.”
Tom chokes on his drink, some spurtles on the floor. I can swear I’ve never seen a man so astounded.
“Jackson Sanaet?!! You are a Sanaet?!”
His mouth is wide open; I can see the surprise darting from his eyes like welding sparks.
“Sanaets are the wealthiest family in Kenya…you are son of..” he drawls and then bangs hands on the table unconsciously. An almost empty bottle dances and is almost toppling but it finds balance.
“Calm down Tom. No need to make a fuss about it. Like I said, money isn’t everything. With the title of a Sanaet, am still a lost sheep wandering the deserts of loneliness and lowliness. And after all, am no longer a Sanaet. I was considered an outcast by my dad when I made known to him my intention to get hitched with a Muslim girl.”
“Yes, Mr. Sana…et, your father is known to be the most venomously religious man in Kenya. Some say being a religious extremist is the reason he has amassed great wealth. I imagine his reaction when you broke the news.”
“He was lost for words, held my mum’s arm for support. My mum was strong, but the hell she was shocked. My younger brother got his piss shocked out of him. We were at our home in Runda, early 2014. When the man regained consciousness, he spoke in tongues, and then attacked me with a gold-coated flower vase. Hadn’t I ducked just in time, the hurtling shit would have knocked me out.”
“And what was the reaction of Aisha’s parents?” Tom asks. I love the flow of conversation; we don’t look like strangers by any stretch of imagination.
“I don’t know. All I know is that whatever happened with her family, she came crying and broke up with me. And since then I became this man.”
I down a gulp directly from the bottle as Tom’s next question comes.
“How and when did you fall in love with Aisha? And why did you let it happen yet you knew she is Muslim and so the two of you couldn’t go anywhere?”
“Tom,” I smile and then quickly cut it, reverting to memories. “Love is a force you cannot control. I used to think she’s pretty, and I would tell her blatantly. At that time, I’d laugh the shit out of you if you predicted I’d end up in love with this Muslim girl, ‘cause the friendship was never cracked up to end wreathed in love shit. See, we never even used to have handshakes; we for years just said hello by waving hands. Her culture doesn’t allow her to have handshakes with the opposite sex, let alone the fact I don’t know what happens inside the walls of a Mosque. But we had been close, enough for me to learn about her culture and how she should be in hijab and never shake my hand. Sometimes I told her about Christianity and how Jesus is our rock of ages but tell you what, our conversations were centred on everything else but religion. I did not question her cultures, neither did she mine. We believed in universal love or whatever the Fine Uncle Counting Kites that is, living together in peace and harmony, respecting each other and all that shit. We were two friends, bonded by something we couldn’t tell.” I disengage and then pull out a strapless wrist watch from my coat. I lift it to read its face by the dim lighting. It’s an hour and some minutes to 11.46 p.m., my ritual time.
“Back to your question, Tom. After school she got a job with KRA and I went to run my dad’s company. Unconsciously, she was the one person I talked to oftenly and consistently. We would meet for coffee, go out, help each other out with advice and..”
“Wait,” Tom interrupts me. The beer has already given the driver courage to short circuit my recollections. But that is good, so I nod and ran a palm across my hairy mouth.
“All this while you never shook her hand?”
“Yes. I understood her culture and never asked further questions. We would only wave hello, and engage in conversations that left me feeling elated in something more than an embrace or a touch. She always left me lolling in space, hearing her precious voice in my head over and over again. There were these kinds of conversations you hold without speaking, beats of the eye and something else..damnit it’s hard to explain.”
I lift a bottle to my mouth and it’s only when the neck of the bottle is inside that I realize it’s empty.
“Damnit,” I curse mildly. I speak the next words waving the bottle gently in my hand. “Tom, please ask the cleavage girls to keep supply ahead of demand. I know this is silly, but one day I might find my sweet Aisha at the bottom of a bottle. Maybe she’s drowning in there and I need to save her.”
I don’t know what I’ve said, or whether it has made sense, and now it begins hurting me that I don’t know what I’ve said and whether it has in it the tiniest shred of sense. Shit, I curse. I guess am drunk now. As Tom tries to wave to the ladies and ask for more beer, I stretch one arm across and tap him, ask him to relax.
“It’s enough for now, because I don’t want to be smashed when I go for my ritual. But afterwards, am making this fucked up place close down coz am drinking all their stock. Shit, am drunk, right? Am cursing a lot, and am making sense when I say am not making sense. Ha-ha. Right?”
Tom stretches a hand and gently taps mine.
“You are drunk, and you won’t be able to talk when drunk. And talking to someone is what you wanted, right? Am here, and am listening.” His voice is calm and comforting, and it’s then that it strikes me that the stranger sitting across from me could be the only friend I have left in this spinning sphere we call a world, or whatever the heck we call it. Beer has taken my internal wheel, making my storytelling skills splash all over the place. Without Tom’s leading questions, I keep pausing mid-sentence to say, ‘Aisha, I miss you. Screw our differences, come back to me.’
Tom asks, “When did the two of you realize you are in love?”
Just then, the live band begins singing Denver’s song. Damn, it’s like this song follows me. I lift up a hand and sing along with them
…life is old there,
older than the trees
younger than the mountains
blowing like the breeze
Take me home
To the place I belong…
Five minutes later the song is over, they are doing another. I pick it up from his question.
“Aisha. One day we were having coffee in town and a bolt from the blue struck. Just like that, a pregnant silence separated us and for fifteen interminable seconds we stared, in an awkward moment. Her eyes were magnetic, and I got lost in them. Had it not been for an attendant who tripped and almost fell as she walked by, I don’t know what would have happened. Our attention shifted and from there the conversation went back to normal. But that night, alone in my house lying on my back inside my quilt and staring as the fan did its thing, I realized something. That since the day I met her, my heart had been put on a conveyor belt rolling slowly towards her, and it was about time.”
A couple seated adjacent to us rises to leave. The lady is staggering and singing in a misplaced and garbled tone, her six inch heels in her arms. The man is cool; he holds her and guides her out. We both pause and look at them.
Tom taps me, and I realize am still staring long after they are gone.
“When I realized I was falling in love with a Muslim girl, I knew I had to fight it. It was an abomination and such kind of love is misplaced love. But Tom, get this from me, you can never fight love. It grows more when you fight it. So I lived supressing it, sometimes avoiding her. Then one day it got too much to bottle in and I had to let her know. I called her from my office telephone and as soon as she picked I said, Aisha, I love you. And am scared that I’ve lost you with this confession. And I banged the receiver back to its cradle, sat there hearing my heart pound against my chest.”
Tom leans forward and narrows his clarity.
“What did she say after that?”
“We never spoke again for a week. I thought I had lost her, because it was the last expected thing that we throw love into our friendship.”
The band is now singing reggae tunes. They are particularly doing Bob Marley’s One Love. I ask Tom that we just sit silently and listen, and he nods.
One love, one heart
Let’s get together and feel alright
Reggae tune after reggae tune we listen, until its five minutes to 11.46p.m.
I summon one of the attendants and clear the bill.
“Tom,” I tug at him. “Follow me.”
When I stand, I almost slump back into the chair. I stay standing for a while until am sure I can walk. I then lead Tom outside. When we get outside, I walk to where we pulled over and sit on the bonnet. He follows and stands in front, facing me. There’s a cold breeze tickling our bodies and a half moon is watching us.
“It was a night like this, and a time like this she said goodbye. And since then I do my ritual at this time. I stand out, alone, and think of our first kiss. Without speaking, without any movement, I re-live that moment and miss my Aisha.”
He realizes the timbre of my voice is on the edge of tears, and pats my shoulder.
“So after my confession, we went silent on each other for a week. Then one morning she sent me a message saying I should go to her place. I cancelled all my appointments and rushed to her doorstep. It was on the second ring that the door softly clicked open, and framed in the doorway stood Aisha, without her hijab. It was the first time I ever saw her black hair beautifully pulled backwards into a pony tail. She was in a thin blue blouse and a pair of white shorts, a silver necklace stretching to her cleavage. And I lost my breath. I wanted to speak, just say something or even yell, when she pulled me inside, locked the door and pushed me against it. Right there, we had our first kiss. I closed my eyes as we snogged and felt as though we were swiftly rotating and floating in space.”
I pause, and notice that Tom, though following closely, has wrapped his arms around himself.
“Forgive me, my bones are used to this cold. No cold more deadly than the one I have at heart,” I say, taking out my coat and draping it on his shoulders, around his lean figure.
“It’s alright. I can bear this cold,” he says. Again, am unable to tell whether he sincerely wants to listen to me or he is doing it for the money. But something in his eyes tells me he is sincere.
“After the kiss, we stood there in each other’s arms and just breathed against each other’s face. She said she loved me too, and that she had fought the feeling since we were in campus. Universal love. That’s where we banked our hope, and promised each other to take a Gretna Green marriage should the society tear us down. Yes, we were ready to run away, together. She promised to face her parents to get them up to speed with the development, and I promised to talk to the staunch Christian I call a father. I don’t know what went on with her family, but with mine things went south. They wouldn’t take any of that bullshit lying down. My family made it look like I had committed a crime worse than getting caught with a dead body and a smoking gun in my hand. Dad is a holy man, it’s like he drinks holy water every morning. Even his handkerchief spends a night under the Bible.”
We both break into guffaws; laughter in the dark. I laugh uncontrollably like a fruitcake, and it’s either the beer or that my laughter is infectious, for we both laugh for almost ten minutes. When we stop, I start crying. Damn, it beats me how I manage to switch emotions.
“Last time I saw her, we were outside her house. It was fourteen minutes to midnight. I could see part of her face left out by the hijab, and teary eyes with dark smudges beneath. She had been crying for a long time even before I showed up. She said she loved me, and that she would always love me. She said our idea for universal love was good, but weak against what we were fighting. She said she never wanted to see me again, and then gave me one last embrace. Her heart pounded against mine. Mine against hers. We cried into each other for so long, until she gathered strength to push me away, and I dredged strength to let her go, watch her slam the door behind her. And the following day when I went looking for her she had moved out. And her mobile line went out of service.”
Tom is now drawn into the story, shaking his head while patting my shoulder. When he speaks, he is calm
“No. Call me the wanderer.”
“Damn you driver I said call me the wanderer!” I thunder, pulling him by the scruff of his neck. Spittle from my mouth sprays his forehead. I harden the rough grip on him and then ease it, and begin crying. He takes time to get his collar back in order before speaking.
“Wanderer, I understand your pain. There’re some things we will never figure out, like why universal love doesn’t work. Why we have different paths yet one sovereign God. We live that to the creator, for He knows His moves and we shouldn’t try to checkmate Him.”
I listen, snuffling as I try to stop crying.
“But one thing for sure, you need to get back up and move on. Aisha is gone, and you need to get your shit together and find peace. She wants you to do that.”
I finally manage to stop crying and pull the driver into a tight embrace. He gets it off guard, and I say to his ears,
“Tom, I was disowned by my family and they’ve never forgiven me. Dad said it was the grace that let him allow me to keep my share of proceeds from the various companies. But to them, I’m an outcast.”
I ease the embrace and let Tom go.
“Now listen to me, driver,” I point a trembling finger at him. “I want you to forget me. We are strangers, and thank you for tonight.”
He tries to protest but I hear none of it. I pull out my phone and demand for his mobile number. After being a bit rough on him and stubborn, he gives me the number. I send him his cash through mobile money transfer, and then as if I’ve never met him, turn and walk into the darkness. Tom is left shouting, “Mr. Sanaet!” But am gone, leaving him with something to remember me with. My coat.
As I split the darkness with my staggers, I think. Winning her love was difficult, but I did it. It however came with loses. I lost my family; I lost myself; I lost my friends. And more painfully, I lost her. And so I call my story, the Pyrrhic victory.